Do you know anyone who would like to experience life in a sustainable cohousing community?

by tom sine —

Interested? Let me introduce you to good friends of ours Barb and Rich Buckham. They suffered through a class that Christine and I taught on Christian Mission In Changing Times for Fuller Theological Seminary… at the beginning of this new millennium.

One of the exercises in class was for each student to draw a picture of their ideal life 10 years in the future. To their own surprise Rich and Barb both drew pictures of living in a Christian community. It wasn’t long after that they talked another Christian couple who had become interested in the possibility of community living as well.

In 2003 a very small group of people met with consultants who were part of the cohousing movement.  Barb said that from that point things really started moving. They got others involved, purchased a 7 acre parcel in Silverdale Washington and started working with an architect to design a cohousing community originally called the Bartimaeus Community.

Meadow Wood Condominiums

Essentially they designed 25 units on 3 1/2 acres. Like most cohousing communities these one, two, three and four bedroom units are clustered together with cars at the perimeter. They completed construction 2006 just before the real estate bubble burst. As a consequence they were able to get full value for the sale of the suburban homes to finance this new cohousing community.

Instead of backyards they have areas for their kids play together plus an orchard and gardens they share together. They also have a common building with the dining room, library and play room for the kids. The some 60 members of this community share meals together in this common dining room once a week. They also share a Garden workday once a month. As a consequence of clustering their homes together they have a 3 1/2 acre woodland park that they also share

Residents of this community tell me that in these uncertain times they value living in an intergenerational community where people care for each other much like an extended family. Most but not all of the members of this  community are people of faith.  Those that are take time not only to pray for one another but to also reach out to their neighbors.

In fact several the Christian couples purchased the 25th unit as a transition house. They use this home for couples like Steve and Cheryl and their three kids. They left an emergency shelter and lived in this transitional unt for almost a year which gave them time to put their lives back together.

Recently, a few women in the community offered to redo the bedroom of a 12-year-old girl who lives with her single dad at the cohousing. Brenda’s dream was to paint her bedroom lime-green with purple monster eggs stenciled on her walls.  She is delighted not only by the new décor but by the care it represented.

Do you know anyone who would like to experience life in a sustainable cohousing community?

If you do email Barbara at buckham@bartcommunity.org.  Look them up on-line at an under-construction website www.mwcondo.com. There is a three bedroom for sale and a two bedroom for rent… for the right party. But I’d also like you to respond to this post and explain why you would like to experience a cohousing community or avoid one. Write me today.